Anuradha (Anu) Mathur, professor emeritus of landscape architecture at the Weitzman School of Design, died on February 28. She was 61 years old.
Born and raised in India, Professor Mathur obtained a BArch in 1986 from the School of Architecture in Ahmedabad, India, then obtained an MLA (Master of Landscape Architecture) in 1991 from Penn’s Weitzman School of Design . Three years after graduating, she joined the faculty of Penn’s Department of Landscape Architecture as an assistant professor. In 2003, she was promoted to associate professor and became a full professor in 2012. At Penn, she taught a series of studios and classes that challenged Western ideas of wilderness, humidity, nature, and nature. culture. On trips to Mumbai, Jerusalem and the US-Mexico border, among other places, she challenged her students to think differently about landscape and their role as designers. Professor Mathur has been involved with the Penn community, serving on Faculty Senate and University Council committees throughout her tenure and has received grants from the University Research Foundation (URF) to study the landscape architecture adjacent to the Ganges and mapping the floodplains of the Mississippi River. . She retired from Penn in the summer of 2021.
To maintain a connection with his native India, Professor Mathur co-founded a business with her husband, Dilip da Cunha. “With rising seas, flooded cities, polluted rivers, piled-up trash and growing inequality, we believe pervasive moisture in place of the land-water binomial is leading the way,” they wrote. “It’s an exciting pre-disciplinary design ground through which we rearticulate the past, experience the present, and envision the future.” Professor Mathur and Dr da Cunha have exhibited worldwide and published several books, including Mississippi Floods: Designing a Changing Landscape (2001); Deccan Traverses: the creation of the Bangalore course (2006); and Dip: Mumbai in an Estuary (2009). In 2011 and 2012, they organized In the land of water, an international symposium at the Weitzman School. They have won several awards, including a Pew Fellowship in 2017, which recognized their collaborative work imagining new possibilities for the design of the built environment and challenging the lines separating land and water, urban and rural environments, formal and informal.
Professor Mathur is survived by her husband, Dilip da Cunha, an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. To read several Weitzman School teachers’ recollections of Professor Mathur, visit https://www.design.upenn.edu/news/remembering-anu-mathur.